Friday, August 11, 2006
I deserve everything I get.
Midway Airport was flooded, but it was the only place I could go. A year and half ago the City Of Chicago decided to crack down on airport parking lot violations, and both at Midway and O'Hare, bureaucratic minions began greedily humping quotas, writing tickets with glee, hungry to reach violation thresholds. Upon climax, they call out the boot squad, lock the car in place, and crouch at the periphery of the lot.
These pathetic bespectacled emotional vampires wait, fondling themselves, waiting, horny to watch the cursing and despair exhibited by jet setters returning to immobile vehicles. The City, in its divine benevolence, deigned to shoehorn a 24 hour Revenue depot deep within the bowels of the airport, allowing these ordinance abusers to fork over cash for access to their cars without having to wait for the dawn's bitter break.
Searching the City Of Chicago website, the Chicago Police website, and various other satellite sites provides not a hint of the existence of this 24 hour payment location. If you look online, the best you'll find are several locations with bank hours. This provides the populace a small window of time each day to get square with the gov't, the very same hours 99% of them work.
Get it? This process is not meant to be smooth. This is meant to be painful. You didn't pay your parking tickets? Say goodbye to a day's pay, your sanity, and your firstborn. You'll keep your soul if you're lucky, fuckface.
I found about about the airport location by spending a long time on hold with 311, before finally gaining the opportunity to pester a grumpy state employee, with whom I persistenly redirected our conversation in new directions until the reluctant telephone drone finally imparted an extended set of options to me.
I'd already visited the City websites, and having seen naught of the secret airport location, I decided to run a Google search for the Revenue spot. The only mention was a local news story about the airport lot crackdowns. You stay classy, Chicago.
I got booted on Wednesday. Thursday, they towed my rust bucket to the Stony Island impound lot. Woe. Despair. Bureaucracy.
Upon booting my Intrepid, they gave me one day to come up with the full overdue balance and remit it in person. What a sick joke.
Day 1. "Hey, we locked your car down! Ha ha!"
Day 2. "Hey we towed the fucking thing away today! What a gas!"
Day 3. "We're charging you separate fees for the boot and the tow! Pretty clever, eh? You gotta laugh! C'mon, loosen up, this is great!"
As I mentioned, Midway suffered minor flooding last night, but the water was enough to slow traffic to a turtle's pace, and it took an hour to reach the arrivals terminal. Upon reaching it, I directed my chauffeur, one of my best friends, to skirt the arrival lanes and detour into lanes strictly reserved for taxis, limos, and busses. Despite his hesitation, he followed my navigation, and soon enough we found ourselves in an obscure lot where taxi drivers park for break times, mandatory anti-terrorism trunk searches, and prepaid tax stamps required for all airport fares.
I was made to wait for nearly two hours, supposedly, due to computer malfunctions. I stood there, dumb. A steady stream of liverymen walked up to the revenue department window and bought fare tax stamps. I spoke to many. I met drivers from Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, and Pakistan, to name a few. All were stressed and hurried, but mostly friendly.
For a while, I waited outside in the lot. I saw intricate rugs on the concrete, laid out in a small space blocked off by conrete barriers. I speculated to my friend that they were drying out after puke had been washed from them. A gentleman of Middle Eastern origin told me "No, not for taxi, I use for pray!" He got down on his knees, faced Mecca, put his head upon the ground, and muttered glory to Allah. I gave him space, privacy, and respect. Nice guy.
At midight, when the clerk told me the computer access would free up, I went back in. I forked over nearly a thousand dollars in borrowed money to the clerks, two women more intent upon telephone gossip than government business. Finally, at 12:15 am, I received my impound release form.
My friend and I went home. Friday morning would bring further trials of my patience, more byzantine bureaucracy, more hardships and fees invisible to me until I arrived in person. Fees sprung like traps, like tiny financial assassinations intended to bankrupt my soul.
I got my car back, eventually.
I deserved everything I got. 8:04 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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